What had he killed this time?"
-Excerpt from Final Moon
Christine M. Soltis attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 30th and May 1st, 2011 with Final Moon,
along with the other nine books in her collection!
Short story book, Estranged Decisions, made its debut there!
Take a moment to enjoy some of the travel articles I have begun to write for EscapeWizard and WhatsCheaper at the links below:
In addition, as of May 2011, I have begun creating articles for the Yahoo network. Please check out my first science fiction story published there, which was originally released in short story book, 'Estranged Decisions.' http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8075433/sarabels_back_path.html?cat=44
Be sure to read the free story excerpts on each page of this site.
Also, once you're finished perusing this one, visit the newly created
and much more colorful second site at
Always check the event page for new and exciting opportunities!
FINAL MOON IS HERE!!
Final Moon: He's a killer who just can't stop.
Horror. Drama. Action.
On a distant island, an expedition hunts for evidence of creature that kills. Inevitably, one soldier leaves the island...changed.
The bloodline curse is passed on. A child faces an ancient curse that causes him to kill on the night of the full moon. Through life, he is constantly in the position of losing those he loves...by his own hands. Two detectives track him in an attempt to stop
'The Full Moon Killer.'
Final Moon IS HERE with an ironic release date of
February 14, 2011! Happy Valentine's Day!
Prepare for the curse...
Enjoy the first chapter below, in its entirety...
1952 East Indies
Kerosene lamps creaked with their owners’ movement through the deep jade hues of the jungle. Night was beginning to fall into the edges of their world, casting blinding shadows across their eager onward path. Flashlights seared the night on all sides, these dim lights offering a mere glimpse of the surrounding wild green grass. Soldiers cut at the grass, clearing a path into a desolate destination. Behind them, cameramen dashed forward with dreary gray film, hoping to capture any image of importance. Tired, hungry and worn soldiers continued forward despite the desperate darkness that clung to all edges of the twilight.
But not all of those involved in this group were trained, resilient soldiers. Dr. Kita, a wealthy archaeologist from Hungary, led this expedition through the swampy jungle. His alleged interests lay in finding the lost Merak tribe of Java. But his determination to pulse forward seemed more like a death wish than a recovery mission. Still, the men pushed forward despite their weariness. After all, the pay was good for such a deep mission.
With miles of hiking through dangerous and treacherous pathways, many opted for silence as preservation of energy. Without voices to occupy the audible sound of space, the only noises around them were those of the rustling, creaking lamps, the path of grass being cut, the sounds of heavy breathing and a few scarce crickets chirping their repetitive nightly songs.
After many hours into the hike, Dr. Kita’s exhilaration was no match for his body’s weariness. He knew the others would need rest as well. He stopped along the side of a clearing and pulled a canteen from his belt. Before taking a drink, he looked around at those who had stopped in tune to his movement.
Dr. Kita’s eyes circled the crowd, trying to figure out what was on their minds. Whispers at the back of the crowd caught his attention. Some of the men gossiped and whispered about talk of cannibalism in the area. He caught a glimpse of the tension and fear in some of the soldiers’ eyes. Tensions ran high, fevering their minds and worrying their eyes. If only they knew of the real threat in these parts.
Something about Dr. Kita’s expression seemed to quiet them. Perhaps it was the darkness, his weariness, or maybe the haunting duplicity in his eyes. Either way, all eyes turned to look at him. Dr. Kita nodded.
“We’ll stop here and rest for a few. Take ten,” he muttered.
Dr. Kita turned towards his favored soldier Lt. Jack Wagner. Wagner was one of the best survivors, hunters and soldiers ever known. His medals and awards superceded even those of his superiors despite the fact that he was half their age. Dr. Kita had chosen this crew very carefully. But none were as important as Wagner.
Before Dr. Kita could speak, a light flashed out suddenly, catching his eye, seeming to focus directly on him. The crew he paid to film this expedition honed in, watching from behind a false lens. Initially, it worried him to allow such indiscretion here. But if they encountered what he expected to, the camera would carry on his work.
Dr. Kita felt a bit of guilt creep in.
Should he have gone into detail of these dangers? Sure, he had warned the others that this could be a life or death mission but he hadn’t told them everything.
He realized he should have told them. But now, it was just too late. Dr. Kita shook the guilt away, remembering the human condition. For all men, there was a price that could be paid.
He turned uneasily to Wagner. However, before he began to speak, he glanced at the camera again and formed his words into a whisper. Some part of him hoped no one else would know the truth. His attention went back to Wagner.
“Have you checked…how are the rations?” he asked.
Wagner looked uneasily at the camera and then down at his boot, trying to kick off some of the mud layered thick across the bottom. He looked into Dr. Kita’s wrinkled, dark face and shook his head. His eyes moved back to his boot before answering with a hint of shame in his voice.
“Only enough left for about half the men,” he whispered.
Dr. Kita looked away from the younger man, blankly staring off into the jungle. He shook his head and then turned to look at the group, suddenly taking note of their lethargy. Dr. Kita scratched his head and turned back to Wagner.
“I don’t understand how this could happen. We came very well prepared. How could we be running out of food already?” he asked.
Wagner shook his head but offered no answer. The coldness of Dr. Kita’s voice shook him alert.
“Well then…cut the rations in half.”
Wagner shook his head with shock. He abruptly stared into the face of the older man, studying him.
“No. I can’t do that,” he said, his voice rising, “Sir, the men are beyond exhausted. Now you want to cut their rations? Sir, with all due respect, this is not what I signed up for. I can’t do that to these men.”
Wagner’s bold face continued to stare into his new opponent’s eyes. But Dr. Kita didn’t waver. His dark eyes gleaned with cold indifference.
“Just do it!” he shouted.
Wagner shook his head and, in a hastened huff, hurried past Dr. Kita. Muttering to himself in an agitated manner, Dr. Kita turned away from the group.
“Eight days on Java and no sight, no clue of it. It’s as if it doesn’t really even exist,” he said.
Dr. Kita moved his head from left to right as if searching for something. Suddenly, he clapped his hands together as if awaking himself from a dream.
“All right! Let’s move out! We should be getting close! Let’s go!” he shouted.
Mild grumbles circulated through the crowd, but the group gathered themselves and shifted forward. With the lanterns creaking as constant conversation, they continued through the growing darkness that ate away all visibility.
The camera crew marched in between soldiers as if they were there just to protect them. With the camera, the anxious young men panned the scene from left to right as they walked, searching for an active interruption of the monotony. But nothing unordinary stirred in the swampy jungle in which they toiled.
Time passed with the natural dullness of the night hike. But just seconds before they thought to shut the cameras down, excitement erupted through the crowd like an audible set of dominos. Jumbled and frightened voices rose ahead of the group. The cameramen jolted forward just in time to capture blurred images of the soldiers, who had stopped in their tracks. The camera searched desperately through the mixed medley of voices for the source of excitement. Some of the men further ahead shrieked in terror. But only a few louder voices could be deciphered amongst the frightened fury.
“It’s a dead body!” one shrieked.
“What’s left of it…” someone muttered.
“It smells awful, so foul!” one shouted.
“What on earth happened to it?” another shouted.
The men covered their noses with the backs of their arms. Others turned away, repulsed and gagging at the sight. The cameramen continued to push past the men, catching glimpses of partially covered faces, the backs of arms, shoulders and more as they pulsed forward, seeking the excitement source. Once they reached the front of the line, the camera lens zoomed in on the dead body lying there.
At least what was left of it.
The entire husk of the body looked ground into pieces like raw hamburger. Dried blood painted most of it, caking over slight bits of remaining flesh. Whole pieces of intact flesh were unordinary additions to the corpse. The skull was nearly crushed in half as if a bullet had gone through the back of his head. The slight clothing on the local tribesman was mere remnants, just as rippled and mangled as his flesh.
From above, the cameramen filmed Dr. Kita kneeling next to the body, pointing down at him from behind and capturing just him and the body in the frame. Dr. Kita was oblivious to the filming, entranced by the piece of evidence in front of him. He whispered to himself as though astounded by the visual.
“Ripped completely to shreds,” he said.
The cameraman zoomed in on the body more, cutting Dr. Kita out of the shot for closer examination. The face of the body was slightly blurry in the frame, yet obviously and frighteningly clawed beyond recognition. The victim’s shirt was ripped all the way off his chest, displaying matching endless vertical claw marks like the ones that had destroyed the face. Flies buzzed over the body, breaking free and hissing obnoxious sounds, while making their way around the crowd of voyeurs.
Chuck, the main cameraman, shrieked in excitement at the onset of action and discovery.
Next to him, his partner Morty grew excited too.
“Now that’s award-winning footage,” Morty said.
But Dr. Kita’s excitement was merely internal and came mixed with fright. This was the first clue to that which he sought. The voices around him were near non-existent in comparison to the drumbeat in his head. Now, a choice had to be made. And it was a hard one at that.
Above him, the cameramen continued to film the body. Dr. Kita pulled a rubber glove from his pocket, snapping it across his fingers. Gently, he turned the nearly decapitated head to the side. Large bite marks were hidden near the back of the neck. Dr. Kita looked closer. Based on the rate of decay, the body had been there for several weeks at most. Dr. Kita let go of the head and took off the glove. He shook his head in disbelief. Wagner watched him intently, knowing there was more. Men behind him voraciously whispered.
The cameramen strayed from the body. They swung the camera behind them, searching for reactions from the expedition. Most of the men were wide-eyed and fidgeting nervously. Many stayed away from the body, glimpsing it from afar and not daring to come closer.
A shaky, accented voice spoke up, the trembling sound not nearly as powerful of a realization as his words.
“It’s cursed. This place is cursed,” he said.
Dr. Kita turned and looked around then, staring blankly at the men. His mind remained in another place. He looked up at the sky with wonder.
“It is too dark now to continue,” he said, “We’ll make camp here.”
Above are previously released titles by Christine M. Soltis. Works range from fantasy, supernatural, horror and poetry. Go to http://stores.lulu.com/solsticesky to purchase any of the books for the cheapest prices in print form! Or, search Christine Soltis on Amazon.com.
Coming soon, the first non-supernatural novel release by Christine M. Soltis. August 2011